III. Restoration Of The Culture

       This was the call to arms of Pope Urban II in calling forward brave men across Christendom to reclaim for Christ the original Christian lands, and to protect the lives of those Christians who made pilgrimage to the holiest sites on earth, in the footsteps of Christ Himself. “De Vult” which means “it is the will of God” was also the battle cry of those holy warriors, the courageous Catholic Crusaders who valiantly fought and died in their war to reclaim Jerusalem and Judea. If Pope Urban II were alive today, well he’d be nearly a thousand years old, but even so, he’d likely still issue that same rallying cry to summon all those who are able to reclaim for Christ the formerly Christian lands of Europe and the Americas. So what can we do, as a small ragtag band, a faithful remnant of men who cannot sit idly by as our children, and our culture are continually contaminated, while the enemies of Christ seemingly gather strength and confidence at their prospect of victory? Well we’re not arrogant enough to think we can chart our own course and devise our own “answers” which would not only be pure folly, but could actually help provide that victory that the forces of evil feel is all but assured. Rather, we can rely upon our nearly two thousand year tradition, upon the wisdom, experience and history of holy men and women, brave and selfless knights, and the finger of God upon the formation and preservation of the Christian civilization, which has faced greater challenges and vanquished worse enemies than we face today.

      If we focus first on the most-admired, most-chivalrous, most-victorious, and most-feared Christian knights, the Knights Templar, we see that their Rule, and their approach to battle  holds much merit for the more modern man of today. The Knights Templar were an elite band of warrior-monks, like some sort of spiritual and secular Seal Team 6, who knew their success on the battlefield was dependent upon their spiritual preparation and personal holiness. The great St. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote the Rule for their order, which required these elite troops to live lives of prayer, obedience, chastity, holiness, fortitude, and service, along with the occasional butt-kicking required of the times. St Bernard required every Knight who wished to enter the order, take the following oath:

Does this not perfectly capture the problem we face today, with men who have drunk too deeply from the estrogen-laden pools of narcissism, immaturity, feminism, metrosexualism, and androgyny, and does not authentic Christian Knighthood put forth the solution for our immoral culture?

Are you content with the way things are, the decrepit state of our families, culture, and civilization? Do you want to tolerate all the evils of the age, too emasculated and scared to stand up and speak out against evil which is called good, and for the good which is called evil, as another generation is lost, and our civilization in moral free-fall? For as Edmund Burke famously pronounced that for evil to prevail, all that is required is for good men to do nothing. Well that’s exactly what we’ve been conditioned to do-by the forces of evil who require our silence, for us to be less than men. And how exactly has that worked out for us as a formerly-Christian culture? The great Christian man who defended Christendom against Muslim attacks, who built great cathedrals and cities, who led his family in faith, who lived a life of honor, piety, and hard work, has been supplanted by the perpetual adolescent, living a meaningless, virtual life at his parents’



I swear that I will defend by my words, arms, and every possible means, even with the loss of my own life, the mysteries and articles of the Faith, the Seven Sacraments, the Symbols of the Apostles and of St. Athanasius, the Old and New Testaments with the explanations of the Holy Fathers approved by the Church, the unity of the Divine Nature and the Trinity of Persons in God, the virginity of the Virgin Mary before, during and after the parturition.

I promise obedience to the Grand Master of the Order according to the statutes of our Blessed Father Bernard. I will engage in combat on foreign lands whenever it is necessary. I will never flee from the infidels, even should I be alone. I will observe perpetual chastity.
I will assist with my words, arms, and actions religious persons, principally the abbots and religious of the Cistercian Order, as our brethren and special friends with whom we have a perpetual association.

I voluntarily swear before God and His Holy Gospel that I will keep all these commitments.”

      What strikes me most about the initial vow, is this is a perpetual vow of defense of our Faith, of obedience, of chastity, and a vow never, ever, to flee from the enemy, even if alone, and even if it means certain death. That’s the kind of heroic Christianity the world needs today, just as it was the kind of heroic Christianity the martyrs used to overcome the invincible Roman Empire. While it may be too much to ask men of this age to keep all 76 clauses of the initial Latin Rule of the Templars, making a solemn vow like the one above to defend Christianity, by “words, arms, and actions” and asking God for the grace and courage to keep it is not overly burdensome, and may help us focus on the things that really matter.

            St Bernard wrote In Praise of the New Knighthood, which began with a criticism of the narcissistic, secular knights of the age:

“you paint your shields and your saddles; you adorn your bits and spurs with gold and silver and precious stones, and then in all this glory you rush to your ruin with fearful wrath and fearless folly. Are these the trappings of a warrior or are they not rather the trinkets of a woman?... What else is the cause of wars and the root of disputes among you, except unreasonable flashes of anger, the thirst for empty glory, or the hankering after some earthly possessions? It certainly is not safe to kill or to be killed for such causes as these.”

followed by praise for its antidote: authentic Christian Knighthood:

“Their hair is worn short, in conformity with the Apostle's saying, that it is shameful for a man to cultivate flowing locks. Indeed, they seldom wash and never set their hair--content to appear tousled and dusty, bearing the marks of the sun and of their armor.

 When the battle is at hand, they arm themselves interiorly with faith and exteriorly with steel rather than decorate themselves with gold, since their business is to strike fear in the enemy rather than to incite his cupidity. They seek out horses which are strong and swift, rather than those which are brilliant and well-plumed, they set their minds on fighting to win rather than on parading for show. They think not of glory and seek to be formidable rather than flamboyant. At the same time, they are not quarrelsome, rash, or unduly hasty, but soberly, prudently and providently drawn up into orderly ranks, as we read of the fathers. Indeed, the true Israelite is a man of peace, even when he goes forth to battle.

Once he finds himself in the thick of battle, this knight sets aside his previous gentleness, as if to say, "Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord; am I not disgusted with your enemies?" These men at once fall violently upon the foe, regarding them as so many sheep. No matter how outnumbered they are, they never regard these as fierce barbarians or as awe-inspiring hordes. Nor do they presume on their own strength, but trust in the Lord of armies to grant them the victory. They are mindful of the words of Maccabees, "It is simple enough for a multitude to be vanquished by a handful. It makes no difference to the God of heaven whether he grants deliverance by the hands of few or many; for victory in war is not dependent on a big army, and bravery is the gift of heaven." On numerous occasions they had seen one man pursue a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight.

Thus in a wonderous and unique manner they appear gentler than lambs, yet fiercer than lions. I do not know if it would be more appropriate to refer to them as monks or as soldiers, unless perhaps it would be better to recognize them as being both. Indeed they lack neither monastic meekness nor military might. What can we say of this, except that this has been done by the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes. These are the picked troops of God, whom he has recruited from the ends of the earth; the valiant men of Israel chosen to guard well and faithfully that tomb which is the bed of the true Solomon, each man sword in hand, and superbly trained to war.”

house, destined to do nothing of merit, unless he finds and lives God’s purpose for him. It’s no surprise that in our everyone gets a trophy society that Americans are ranked highest in self-esteem, but in the low to mid-twenties in achievement. We’ve been sold the big lies that everyone is exceptional, none of us can judge, what’s good or true for you isn’t good or true for me, and now we’re reaping the whirlwind.

We need to be the tip of the spear in this eternal and infernal battle, which has spilled over into our culture, in order to not only reverse the decline, but to reclaim the culture for Christ. We need to be the courageous, zealous, dynamic men God created us to be, following the countless examples from the Bible and the saints from our Catholic tradition. We only need to start small, with ourselves and our families, and, being faithful in small things we will be given more, and by the grace of God, we will renew our families, parishes and country. Though it sounds like an impossible task, and that the culture is too far gone, God, with the help of active, believing men and women, have transformed cultures far worse than our own. Remember what Jesus said to his apostles when faced with another seemingly impossible situation, feeding 5000 hungry people in the middle of nowhere. He told them, and by extension us: you give them something to eat. So all the apostles did was gather up a couple fish and a few loaves, and by their fidelity and actions, Jesus blessed their meager efforts and accomplished the impossible. Remember, He’s not asking us to feed 5000, just bring him a few loaves and fish and He’ll take care of the rest.